Even Chuck Todd thinks President Obama's new tax plan is a joke.
When asked on MSNBC Monday if the White House believes "tax reform in the context of the Super Committee is a realistic goal," NBC's chief White House correspondent broke out laughing followed by the entire "Morning Joe" panel (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MARK HALPERIN, TIME: But Chuck, does the President, the White House think tax reform in the context of the Super Committee is a realistic goal?
CHUCK TODD, NBC’S CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: [Laughs] You know.
[Entire ‘Morning Joe’ panel laughs]
HALPERIN: I don’t know the answer. I’m not asking…
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, CO-HOST: Wow! That was an answer.
TODD: Look, you know, I don’t, you know, nobody there believes, they, this is how they put it when it comes to both their jobs bill and this, right? They will say the following: “Yes, we’re pessimistic that Congress will take this up. We’re pessimistic that we can cut a deal with Republicans, but we think it’s possible.” That, that, that’s their way of saying, “No.”
JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST: So it’s like the last thing they put out, you think this is just political window dressing. They’re setting the Republicans up.
TODD: Well, I mean, this is also the President trying to clean up the fact that he didn’t put out a bill before. I mean, let’s not forget, he didn’t put out a debt plan before. He put out guiding principles before.
This is both funny AND sad on a number of levels.
First, if media members like Todd had been honest during the debt ceiling debate about the President having not actually put out a plan - "He put out guiding principles" - the discussion would have been far different.
Instead, what the press did at the time was report that Obama had offered a "grand plan" that the Republicans were refusing to go along with.
Now, more than a month later, Todd goes on a morning talk show program watched by relatively few people - "MJ" garned 428,000 total viewers last Thursday - telling the truth.
As for the laughter concerning this tax plan, despite what he said on this little-watched show Monday morning, it seems a good bet Todd as NBC's chief White House correspondent will have his talking points down better as he appears on more highly-rated programs in the hours and days to come.
In fact, it seems a metaphysical certitude he and his colleagues throughout the press will be far less skeptical about the seriousness of this plan, and will be once again painting Republicans as being do nothings unwilling to cooperate with the President on anything.